Your doctor will ask about your pain symptoms and then press on a series of anatomically-defined soft tissue body sites called tender points. There are 18 tender points on the body that will usually be highly sensitive to pressure in people with fibromyalgia as specified by the American College of Rheumatology criteria. People who do not have fibromyalgia are much less tender to pressure applied at these tender points.
What is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a chronic disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, and tenderness in localized areas of the neck, spine, shoulders, and hips called tender points. According to William Hennen, Ph.D., author of Fibromyalgia: A Nutritional Approach, fibromyalgia has been classified as a syndrome, not a disease. He explains that a disease is a condition with a clearly identifiable cause, while a syndrome is a set of symptoms that define the condition without a single causative agent upon which to place the blame.
What are the Symptoms of Fibromyalgia?
While the symptoms associated with Fibromyalgia fluctuate from person to person, there is one common symptom that all agree on - they ache all over. The pain can feel like a deep bone ache, pains and needles, or a stabbing or burning pain. Muscles may feel like they have been pulled or overworked. There are times this pain is mild, others when it is so severe that it becomes unbearable.
Along with pain, many Fibromyalgia sufferers report headaches, poor sleep, fatigue, depression, and irregular bowel habits. Many others simply describe their symptoms as "flu-like."